It is a commonly held view that the right to be accompanied to a disciplinary hearing allows you to take a family member or a friend to such a meeting. This is not the case. A worker has the right to choose any companion to attend a disciplinary hearing as long as they are either – 1. a paid trade union official. 2. an unpaid union official. 3. a fellow worker. If your choice of companion is not available on the date when the disciplinary hearing is set, then your employer should rearrange that hearing to take place within five working days to comply with the ACAS code of practice. There is an overriding obligation on the employer to have acted reasonably and so if a worker seeks to postpone a disciplinary hearing because their companion cannot attend, then the meeting should be moved to a date when that companion can attend. An employer should be very cautious about proceeding in the absence of the workers selected companion and should be always aware of the overriding principle of ‘reasonableness’. Any questions, please speak to Ian Furness at our Birstall office 01924 443900.